What the hell is going on? First Bergman and now this. Michelangelo Antonioni, the Italian director of Zabriskie Point, Blow Up, The Passenger and L'Avventura among others died at his home in Rome on Monday evening. This is very, very sad indeed. Antonioni was one of the masters of not just European cinema but world cinema. L'Avventura is one of my favourite films; a sublime experience, with the delectable Monica Vitti (pictured above with Antonioni).
I saw Antonioni at Venice a couple of years ago. It was at the press conference for Eros, the three-film collaboration between himself, Steven Soderbergh and Wong Kar-wai. I didn't think much of Antonioni's segment, it felt like the work of a filmmaker who was a shadow of his former self, but I still felt a frisson of excitement when Antonioni was wheeled into the room in his wheelchair. Everyone knew they were in the presence of greatness and it took a while for the room to recover. I remember Soderbergh saying he agreed to do the film so he could have his name on a poster with Antonioni. That's reason enough if you ask me.
Rest in peace maestro. And thank you for your art. Ciao.